Recently, everybody has a lot to say about John Tortorella having not a lot to say. By now, you know that the New York Rangers head coach's press conferences have become the game after the game during these Stanley Cup Playoffs. Typically after a Rangers loss, to which there have been seven so far, Torts has typically given nothing to the throngs of quote-hungry media at the presser. Succinct or even one-word answers are given in a snarling, sarcastic tone, and nobody seems too happy about it.
I think I've figured out why this is even a story at all, why this has been so talked about. It took a long, long time and a ton of pondering for me to finally come to my hypothesis, and here it is: Torts' relationship with the media is a big story because the media is making it a big story, and the media is making it a big story because the media is a complainy, whiny bunch of old men.
(Sure, I'm painting with a broad brush, as there are plenty of fine, young, not complainy media out there.)
There have been some people out there who have made the case that Tortorella owes it to the Ranger fans to answer the questions honestly, because the media is the conduit between the team and the fans. News flash: it aint 1954 anymore. With social media, blogs, 24-hour television, etc, fans are more connected to players, coaches and teams than ever. Fans aren't running out early in the morning to buy the newspaper to read post-game reactions from the players and coaches. Print media members are pissed off at Torts because they want their damn quotes for their stories that nobody is going to read because people stopped reading newspapers a decade ago. Here's a novel idea; go get quotes from the players.
Chris Carlin, of SNY, Beer Money, and Rutgers Radio fame, tweeted after the game that Tortorella should just answer questions with some simple clichés. How hard could it be, he argued. Well, what's the difference between not answering a question and answering it with a boring cliché? Right, we really want to read that Tortorella told his team to "Take it one game at a time", and "Tomorrow's a new day". Whew, thanks, that helped a lot.
I don't think Torts is blameless. I think it's a little ridiculous that he vows to keep everything "in the room", as nobody is looking to pry trade secrets from him. There certainly is a protocol that all professional athletes and coaches are a part of which includes their media duties. He can do a better job of holding up his end of the bargain. My whole stance on this thing is that it's just not a big deal. I think the media need to get off their high horse. At this point, you know that if the Rangers lose, Torts isn't going to give you much. Funny thing is, on Thursday, he held a 10-minute conference call with the media and answered all the questions honestly and articulately. He's pretty much done that all playoffs, it's just too late for those who think their day-after, hard deadline stories are sacred.
So all those whining and complaining about Tortorella's silence should take a page out his book; zip your lips.
Quick Hits and Misses
-Mike Francesa's war on modern society became a national discussion this week when the WFAN blowhard vowed that Twitter should be illegal. He also wondered if Twitter charged per tweet, or something, and noted that that's coming soon because eventually, someone will figure out a way to monetize this whole Interweb Tweeter MyFace thing. You nailed it, Mike. The Twitter guys will finally be able to move out of their parents' houses and buy cars and enjoy fine wines once they start charging people to use their site.
-The Journal News' (Westchester, NY) Rick Carpiniello recently made a comparison between the Rangers' Artem Anisimov and Bernie Williams. It had something to do with laissez faire-ness, I think. Something like that. Treasure it, because it's the only time you'll ever, ever hear those two names uttered in the same sentence. Unless Artem Anisimov is secretly a great jazz pianist who accompanies Bernie on his next album, which would be incredible.
-Tommy Dee of SNY's The Knicks Blog is revolutionizing how we look at the sport of basketball. His recent post about the importance of what he's intelligently termed "Catch and Make" players is truly groundbreaking. This whole time, in all these years of analyzing and following basketball, when we referred to this same phenomenon as "Catch and Shoot" we were getting it all wrong. Tommy finally opened all our eyes to the idea that shooters take shots to MAKE them. From now on, then, we'll have to call Ray Allen the best 3-point MAKER of all-time. Since you know, when we say he's the best 3-point "shooter" of all time, we're not implying that he actually makes most of them or anything. In Tommy's next post, he'll break down why Jeremy Lin needs to take a big step next year in his Pass Completions.
-A quick one just to throw some positivity into this piece. There isn't anyone alive who's better than Mike Emrick at what he does. A long-time Devils broadcaster, you'd think there has to be some natural internal bias there, and that's completely understandable. But by listening to him call Rangers-Devils, you'd never know.